Bidding on this item has ended.
Tony O'Malley STILL LIFE AND WINDOW
Lot 6
Price Realised: €44,000
Estimate: €25,000 - €35,000
Tony O'Malley HRHA, 1913-2003 STILL LIFE AND WINDOW Oil on board, 36" x 30" (91.4 x 76.2cm), signed, inscribed and dated 1967 verso. Provenance: Sotheby's, London, 16 May 1996, (lot 562); Whytes Auction, 21st September, 2004 (lot 33); P... Read more
Lot 6 - STILL LIFE AND WINDOW by Tony O'Malley Lot 6 Tony O'Malley STILL LIFE AND WINDOW
Estimate: €25,000 - €35,000
Tony O'Malley HRHA, 1913-2003
STILL LIFE AND WINDOW
Oil on board, 36" x 30" (91.4 x 76.2cm), signed, inscribed and dated 1967 verso.

Provenance: Sotheby's, London, 16 May 1996, (lot 562); Whytes Auction, 21st September, 2004 (lot 33); Private Collection.

Tony O'Malley's paintings, some more abstract than others, very often give us a sense of 'place', drawing on the artist's emotional and sensory experiences. In 1960 he moved from Ireland to Cornwall and, after a visit to Ireland in 1967, moved to the Ship Studio in St. Ives, where he lived and worked. It's likely that Still Life and Window was painted here, conveying a frosty interior bathed in a luminous, silvery half-light, undoubtedly obscured by cloud. The room narrows, the space is compressed  and the window is high up: the composition suggesting the cramped, isolated austerity of the painter's studio in winter. Even so, there is an underlying spirit of jauntiness which is uplifting.

Since moving to Cornwall, O'Malley became part of a vibrant and influential circle of innovative artists, with his own work moving away from realism towards a more semi-abstract style. We can see it in this painting where, instead of 'natural' colours, we find a harmonious composition where delicious tones of blue have been arranged with restraint and subtlety.

The artist flattened the picture space and simplified the objects in his studio, playing with them as an abstract composition. These objects are deliberately 'orchestrated' so that they seem to dance around the picture. Even the window sways. The loose application of paint and the spontaneous quality of the incised lines carved into the surface reinforce the liveliness of the composition.

Dr Frances Ruane  HRHA

October 2022
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